While many feel that sex work is by its very nature exploitative, the question of whether it qualifies as legally exploitative revolves around one central issue: Should strippers be classified as employees or independent contractors?
On the surface, this question may seem trivial. The fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of thousands of Nevada employees who have cause against their companies for being misclassified as independent contractors when they should be classified as employees.
Why does this matter? Employees are entitled to certain benefits and protections under Nevada law, while independent contractors are not.
Employee Entitlements Under Nevada Law
Those who are classified as employees are entitled to the following:
- Unemployment benefits
- Minimum wage and overtime pay
- Workers compensation
- Right to sue for sexual harassment
However, employees who are misclassified as independent contractors are not entitled to any of these.
Because of a large gray area that involves blurred edges between the definition of an employee and an independent contractor, Nevada’s governor signed a bill into law that rigidly defined who could or could not be considered an independent contractor. The law has the benefit of clarifying many points of contention in civil suits in which employees felt that they were misclassified for the purpose of denying them employee benefits.
Who is an Independent Contractor?
The law is all about the technicalities, so the technical definition of an independent contractor must be specific. Legally speaking, an independent contractor must have a specific relationship to his or her employer in order to be considered as such. That definition is as follows:
- The degree to which an individual has control over the means and manner of the work. This statute defines the power relationship between a customer and contractor as distinct from that of a supervisor and employee. A contractor is in control of the means and manner of the work to a greater extent than an employee is. An independent contractor, for instance, would provide his or her own equipment for the completion of a job.
- If the individual is an entertainer, when the individual has the final say over the time a performance is to be given, that individual is an independent contractor. For instance, a band can refuse to play due to conflict of schedule, but a stripper would be expected to be on the clock at a specific time, which is why the women mentioned above were successful in their lawsuit.
- An individual who is not required to work exclusively for one company or person is considered an independent contractor. This right, however, can be waived by the individual in a contract. He or she would still be considered an independent contractor.
- An individual who contributes substantial investment capital in a venture can be considered an independent contractor.
Strippers are Employees According to Verdict
In the aforementioned case, the plaintiffs argued that strippers do not meet the legal criteria for an independent contractor because the strip club has too much control over their day-to-day employment. For instance, the second criteria listed stipulates that an independent contractor would be able to turn down gigs. A stripper does not usually have this power. Hence, strippers are employees and not independent contractors.
Have You Been Misclassified by Your Employer?
Misclassification suits are among the most common labor violations that employers commit. If you have been misclassified, contact the Nevada branch of HKM Employment Law at 702.625.3893, and we will ensure you get the benefits that you are entitled to under Nevada law.